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Slow Food USA members should have just received the issue 4 of The Snail for 2007. The theme of the issue is American Food Traditions; we asked some people to share with our readers their personal food heritage in a feature called “I Am What I Ate: Food from my childhood.” Below, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini shares his own (non-American, of course!) childhood food tradition.

by Carlo Petrini

My family’s origins lie somewhere between the working class and the middle class. Our food culture was first and foremost a product of subsistence, and my grandmother was its guardian. I remember afterschool snacks of soma d’aj, a slice of bread toasted on the stove, rubbed with a clove of garlic and sprinkled with a little salt and oil sprinkled on top. Few would probably dream of preparing such a thing for their children these days, but for me, it was a sort of “education in garlic,” and I certainly don’t regret it. Two other dishes that were important to my childhood are meat ravioli, made to last the week and totally sublime in the delicateness of the pasta sheets, and rolatine, strips of meat rolled up around a filling of egg, vegetables, cheese, and breadcrumbs, served with Piedmontese salsa verde. This last dish is hardly to be found any more, but when I’m able to find it, it never ceases to bring back a rush of memories.

If you would like to receive The Snail, Slow Food USA’s quarterly magazine for members, click here.

Feel free to use the comments section to share your food heritage.